Much has been published on finding landmarks on object surfaces in the context of shape modeling. While this is still an open problem, many of the challenges of past approaches can be overcome by removing the restriction that landmarks must be on the object surface. The virtual landmarks we propose may reside inside, on the boundary of, or outside the object and are tethered to the object. Our solution is straightforward, simple, and recursive in nature, proceeding from global features initially to local features in later levels to detect landmarks. Principal component analysis (PCA) is used as an engine to recursively subdivide the object region. The object itself may be represented in binary or fuzzy form or with gray values. The method is illustrated in 3D space (although it generalizes readily to spaces of any dimensionality) on four objects (liver, trachea and bronchi, and outer boundaries of left and right lungs along pleura) derived from 5 patient computed tomography (CT) image data sets of the thorax and abdomen. The virtual landmark identification approach seems to work well on different structures in different subjects and seems to detect landmarks that are homologously located in different samples of the same object. The approach guarantees that virtual landmarks are invariant to translation, scaling, and rotation of the object/image. Landmarking techniques are fundamental for many computer vision and image processing applications, and we are currently exploring the use virtual landmarks in automatic anatomy recognition and object analytics.